A Saskatoon judge has ruled that a videotaped confession Greg Fertuck made to undercover police describing the 2015 murder of his wife can be admitted into evidence in his first-degree murder trial.
Fertuck is shown on June 21, 2019, recording Sheree Fertuck’s performance in a gravel pit near Kenaston, Sask., four years earlier.
Sheree Fertuck disappeared on December 7, 2015. The 51-year-old woman’s body has never been found. Greg Fertuck was charged with first-degree murder in 2019.
His judge-only trial began in September 2021 in what was then Queen’s Court.
The Crown has since presented its case in a voir dire, or trial within a trial. On Friday, Judge Richard Danyliuk ruled that confessions Fertuck made to undercover agents can apply to the trial itself.
The Crown’s case centered on confessions Fertuck made to RCMP officers posing as criminals as part of the so-called Mr. Big sting. Fertuck maintained at trial that he made up the story of his wife’s murder because he was afraid.
The trial suffered numerous delays, including Fertuck’s decision to represent himself after a fight with his defense team in October 2022 and then successfully requesting to re-examine witnesses who had already been questioned.
Fertuck also slipped on a patch of ice and suffered a serious head injury midway through the RCMP sting. That accident led officials to reevaluate the merit of continuing.
Danyliuk’s ruling hinged on whether police followed guidelines set by the Supreme Court regarding Mr. Big’s stings.
The RCMP conducted 136 structured interactions, known as scenarios, between summer 2018 and late spring 2019 in Operation Greg Fertuck.
Various undercover operators gradually revealed to Greg a fictitious criminal enterprise that included loan sharking, corrupt border guards, stolen diamonds, vehicles, and high-stakes poker games.
The hole33:59E14: Complaints
It culminated in Greg revealing to an undercover officer on June 21, 2019 that he had killed Sheree and then dumped her body.
Fertuck’s former attorneys questioned some of the undercover agents, focusing primarily on how well Fertuck recovered from his head injury. Whether he had an “operational mind” when police forced him to confess was expected to play a prominent role in Danyliuk’s decision.
The trial is not over yet
The Crown’s case against Fertuck relies heavily on evidence gathered in the undercover police operation.
“The evidence that was requested and the law that must be applied is an important area and obviously a significant test for the Crown to overcome. So we are happy with the results and we look forward to the trial continuing.” Crown prosecutor Carla Dewar said Friday.
The trial is not over yet, Dewar said, and the Crown will now determine whether more evidence is needed.
“Everything that has been heard so far will be entered into evidence against Mr. Fertuck without having to present that evidence again,” Dewar said. “Also, Mr. Fertuck will have to decide if he is going to present any evidence on his behalf. So that will be the rest of the trial.”
Dewar said he hopes there are no more delays and that everything returns to normal.
“The Crown is evidently happy with the decision that has been taken today.”